UK man who punched 11-year-old son to death jailed for life
Michael Harrison struck Mikey several times, lacerating his liver, but told authorities son had fallen from tree.
A man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his 11-year-old son, who he punched repeatedly then took to a park from where he told emergency services his child had fallen out of a tree.
Michael Harrison, 41, previously pleaded guilty to the murder of Mikey Harrison, who was injured on 18 June last year and later died in hospital.
Harrison had initially denied the charge, and told police Mikey’s injuries were caused by him falling out of a tree while playing hide and seek in Shipley Country Park, north-east of Derby. He later admitted having punched his son in the abdomen several times.
Sentencing Harrison at Derby crown court on Thursday, Judge Smith KC said the defendant lied about the killing and had taken his son to a park as part of an attempted cover-up.
The judge told the defendant: “[you] embarked upon a charade solely intended to protect yourself. That was because you had attacked your 11-year-old son, Mikey. You hit and punched him many times. At least one of those blows was so hard it lacerated his liver.
“Rather than face up to what you had done, you made a call to the ambulance service to report that Mikey had fallen out of a tree.
“What you did that morning ended the life of a little boy and emptied the lives of many others.”
Harrison wore a T-shirt bearing the word “family” as he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 21 years and six months.
The judge said a pathologist concluded Mikey, who was “undernourished” and weighed 24kg (3 st, 11lb) at the time of his death, did not die immediately and would have developed increasing pain and nausea after receiving his injuries.
“He may well have survived with prompt and appropriate treatment,” Smith said.
The prosecutor Peter Joyce KC told the court: “The defendant said he had been on a day out with Mikey at Shipley Park and they were playing hide and seek.
“The defendant said he had not seen Mikey climb a tree but heard him fall. This entire account of the fall was utter fiction. This was made up by the defendant to cover up the fact that he himself had fatally injured his son.”
The 999 call Harrison made to emergency services reporting his son’s injuries was placed almost four hours after the attack.
A postmortem examination concluded there was “multiple blunt-force trauma and injuries to his face, head, arms, back and neck”, and Joyce said his cause of death was given as “a laceration to the liver caused by multiple blunt-force injuries”.
Vanessa Marshall KC, mitigating, said: “This was a man who lost control for whatever reason, lashed out and now must live with the consequences. Mr Harrison is full of remorse for what he has done but knows that remorse will never bring back his beloved son. He genuinely wishes to say sorry.”